OSHA Announces 30-Day Enforcement Policy for the Silica Standard in Construction

On Tuesday, September 20, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a memorandum to OSHA Regional Administrators announcing how the Agency will handle enforcement of the new silica standard for the construction industry, which took effect on September 23, 2017.

The memorandum states that during the first 30 days of enforcement OSHA will not issue citations to contractors who are putting forth good faith efforts in their attempt to comply with the requirements of the new standard. For those contractors attempting to comply, OSHA will offer compliance assistance and outreach with a focus on full and proper implementation of the controls listed in Table 1. However, if during an inspection it appears that a contractor is not making any effort to comply with the requirements of the silica standard, OSHA’s inspection will include air monitoring for exposures and the contractors may also be considered for citations. During this time period, any proposed citations are required to be reviewed by the National Office.

The memorandum also notes that OSHA has developed interim inspection and citation guidance to be released prior to the termination of the memorandum and that a compliance directive will be issued at a later date. AGC encourages contractors who have operations in State Plans and are covered by the silica standard to contact their Administrators to find out if the September 20 memorandum will be acknowledged.

Genie Issues Safety Notices on Aerial Work Platforms

Many times manufacturers learn about faulty or malfunctioning equipment and they will issue a notice which identifies the concern on specific makes and models of equipment.

Below are several notices that have recently been issued by Genie. It’s important to take the time to identify your equipment, and if matches the make and model listed in these notices, be vigilant about getting that equipment fixed before it causes harm to your employees or damage to your equipment.

New OSHA Silica Standards Go into Effect September 23, 2017

Silicosis is a debilitating and deadly respiratory disease that occurs when an employee is exposed to very small particles of silica dust over a period of many years. Silica can be found in the soil and in products made from rocks and sand, which are used in many building materials. The US Department of Labor has been studying the ill health effects of respirable silica in the workplace for more than 80 years. OSHA reduced the Permissible Exposure Level for employees performing tasks such as concrete grinding, chipping, cutting, and demolition and issued a Substance Specific Standard for Respirable Crystalline Silica in 2016.

On September 23, 2016, OSHA will begin enforcing the Standard. Is the construction industry prepared? Despite widespread efforts by OSHA, the AGC, and other industry groups and contractors to promote education and training, there are challenges ahead.

Many small contractors and subcontractors have not implemented their own silica programs. For most silica-generating tasks, a respiratory protection program is also required.

BD+C Magazine recently reported on the topic; click here to read the short article.

Check out WCSA’s Training & Events calendar for upcoming training opportunities, as well as the “Upcoming Events “footer at the bottom of this webpage for the latest classes! The next class is October 6 and is available in English and Spanish! You can also check out our silica training videos (in Spanish and English) on this website’s Resources page.

Silica Training Oct 2017

Working Safe in Hot Weather

With temperatures consistently in the 80s and 90s lately, it’s pretty obvious that summer has arrived! With that comes the added responsibility of companies to ensure their workers stay safe in the heat—especially construction companies that do much of their work outdoors. To safeguard your team members against heat-borne illness, you need to provide them with water, rest, and shade.

According to OSHA, over 40% of heat-related worker deaths happen in the construction industry. What can you do to protect your team members?

  • Make sure to cover hydration in your PODs (plans of the day) and note heat hazards on your JHAs (job hazard analysis), especially for employees working outdoors and in the sun. They need to be aware of the importance of staying hydrated at all times
  • Make sure that drinking water is readily available for employees to drink as needed. Some projects have dispensers, some have water bottles (preferably these are in coolers or refrigerators) or other means to deliver cool or cold, drinkable water
  • Keep a close eye out for signs of heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke. If you see signs of illness, take immediate action.

It’s important to keep these facts fresh in your team members’ thoughts. The more you educate people and remind them of the dangers and how to prevent them, the quicker we can bring down heat-related incidents.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion Graphic     What to Do Heat Illness Graphic

OSHA Resources / Recursos de OSHA:

 

Trabajando Seguramente en Tempuraturas Altas de Calor

Con temperaturas consistentemente en los 80 y 90 últimamente, es obvio que el verano ha llegado! Con esto también llega la responsabilidad adicional de los empleadores en asegurar que sus trabajadores se mantengan protegidos contra el calor—especialmente compañías como la nuestra la cual realiza una gran parte de su trabajo afuera. Para proteger nuestros empleados contra condiciones causadas por el calor extremo, necesitamos proveerle agua, descanso y sombra.

De acuerdo a OSHA, sobre 40% de las muertes relacionadas con el calor ocurren en la industria de la construcción. Que podemos hacer para protegerlos?

  • Asegúrense de cubrir hidratación en sus POD’s (Plan del Dia) y noten el peligro del calor en sus Análisis de Peligros del Trabajo (JHA), especialmente para trabajadores trabajando afuera en el sol. Estos deben saber la suma importancia de mantenerse siempre hidratados.
  • Asegúrense de tener agua de tomar fácilmente accesible y en suficientes cantidades para nuestros empleados en todo momento. Algunos proyectos tienen dispensador, otros traen agua en botellas (preferiblemente en hieleras) u otros medios para proveer agua en temperaturas agradables y eficaces para tomar.
  • Manténgase en alerta por señales de agotamiento por calor y/o golpes de calor. Si observa señales de estas condiciones, tome acción inmediata.

Tal como la agua fresca, es de suma importancia mantener estos hechos frescos en las mentes de nuestros empleados. Mientras más educamos y recordamos de estos peligros, y como prevenirlos, más rápido reducimos estos incidentes relacionados con el calor.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion Graphic - Espanol     What to Do Heat Illness Graphic - Espanol

We’ve Remodeled Our Website!

Wyoming Construction Safety Alliance is looking forward to being more interactive with the Wyoming community and we’ve revamped our website to be more user-friendly.

In addition to a new, updated look, we’re expanding our content to bring our construction community subject matter, recommendations, and the latest news to keep your workers and your company safe!

What do you think? We look forward to your comments!